Michel Houellebecq’s mom — octogenarian Lucie Ceccaldi — will publish her own book, L’Innocente, to clear the record.
At a book party last night I witnessed what I’m tempted to call the New York media version of an Abbott and Costello routine — except it was an actual conversation, and I was a participant. Here’s how it went.
Critic: [Upon introduction.] Maud Newton… Wasn’t there a novel called that this year?
Me: I don’t think so.
Critic: Yes, I think there was a novel or something.
Friend: Are you thinking of Elizabeth Costello? Or some other book with a name for a title?
Critic: No, Maud. It’s such a common name now, all of a sudden. Recently I met a Rachel Maud. And Maud Newton, yes, it’s definitely a book.
Friend: Maybe you’re thinking of a blog?
Critic: [Pulls out phone.] Let me just check Amazon.
Me: I think I’d know if there was a novel called “Maud Newton.”
Journalist: Yes, I think she’d know.
Critic: No, I’m not finding anything. Let me put it in Google.
Me: Please don’t Google me right now.
Critic: N – E – W – T – O…
Me: Seriously, could you just not –
Critic: Oh, right, this is what I was thinking of: Maud Newton. Is this your website?
Critic: Is it a literary website?
Me: Well, sort of. People seem to think so.
Critic: Does it have a cat on it?
Friend: A cap?!
Critic: A cat.
Me: Not as far as I know.
Critic: Oh, I thought it had a cat.
And now it has two — Emily & Percy — so everybody’s happy.
Allan Gurganus says the first chapter of Housekeeping contains “enough dramatic incident to stock any three other novels.”
It amuses me to picture Roland Barthes drunk-dialing Robbe-Grillet at midnight to say, “But Alain, I’m a fake, aren’t I?”
“My father said I wasnâ€™t going to be a man until I got comfortable lying to the women in my life.” Please read Baird Harper’s Intermodal.
Iran’s culture minister warned writers yesterday to self-censor their books or face banning.
It’s funny: I haven’t been to the Peach State since I drove through from Tallahassee while moving here in ’99, but as luck would have it I’m headed down to The Georgia Review‘s home base — the lovely and slackerful Athens — this weekend, just as the magazine has come to town for the National Magazine Awards and a string of events. Looking to supplement your PEN World Voices event-going? Check out your options here.
If you’d like to read the Crews autobiography and letters — and to see an awesome shot of the author smoking (I think) a joint at a carnival — email me at maud [at] maudnewton [dot] com before 9 a.m. EST tomorrow (4/29), with â€œGeorgia Reviewâ€ in the subject line. All entries will be assigned numbers based on the order received, and the randomizer will choose a winner. This time the randomizer likes Sebastian S.
Theodora Keogh’s only known published short story, “The Man Who Loved Old Ladies,” appeared in Dude, a minor Playboy imitator, in 1957.
Vladimir Nabokov may have had a touch of clairvoyance.
The Guy Who’s Where He Is Only Because He’s Black explains things to you.
“I’m not a nut.” An interview with Justice Scalia about his new book literally induced nightmares as I kept hitting snooze this rainy Monday morning.
Sleeping it Off in Rapid City reflects poet August Kleinzahler’s lifelong preoccupation with the addicted, insane, and destitute.
Recently I posted a 1914 Dallas Morning News article about a dead woman found on a Galveston beach whom an old family friend misidentified as my great-grandmother, Alma Johnston. I planned to follow up with a couple photos I unearthed of Alma standing in and in front of the waves in Galveston, but those shots have gone missing.
Instead here’s a picture of my Newton grandpa (above, right) living it up with a buddy in someone’s backyard. Hope your weekend was equally good.
Steve Coates unearths Vladimir Nabokov’s remarks about The Original of Laura, his final, unfinished manuscript.